Elusive online journalist Scott King examines the chilling case of a young vlogger found frozen to death in the legendary local ‘vampire tower’, in another explosive episode of Six Stories…
In the wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old Vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as ‘The Vampire Tower’, where she was later found frozen to death.
Three young men, part of an alleged ‘cult’, were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a ‘prank gone wrong’
However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton’s death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible.
Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire…
Both a compulsive, taut and terrifying thriller, and a bleak and distressing look at modern society’s desperation for attention, Beast will unveil a darkness from which you may never return…
When I heard that the amazing Matt Wesolowski had written another book set in the world of online journalist Scott King, I was overjoyed, because all the previous books in the series had been extraordinarily thrilling and superbly written.
Having just finished Beast I am remain a devoted and very happy reader of the writer and the explosive theme of the Six Stories format.
It is a tale about of the death of a young vlogger taking part in a creepy on-line craze and leads Scott King into an investigation about who was really responsible for her death, was it the boys now in jail, or where they just as much victims as Elizabeth. It is not until you turn the last few pages, do you really find out, your held in thrall by the way the writer manipulates both the threads of the story, but also the minds of the reader. It grips you in a relentless tale of secrets and lies, of smoke and mirrors, where your perceptions of the truth require constant revaluation as layer by layer, the truth is revealed.
The atmosphere often felt as if it was seeping off the page and whirling around in my mind, especially those scenes set in and around the vampire tower and the village of Ergarth. The Beast of the East maybe long gone, but Matt Wesolowski had me wrapping myself up against the chill that ravaged the UK and his story, as if I was there with Scott King on the Northumbrian coast, held in thrall by a darkness it might never escape from.
Now some might worry, that in following the same pattern, the series might become too formulaic, but Beast blows those worries out of the water and into the stratosphere, it is scary, thrilling and oh so creepy.
Here in Beast we have a modern retelling of the story of vampires, interwoven into our modern obsession with social media and the abandonment of smaller communities that are no longer culturally relevant, in a media obsessed world. He takes a small community that feels abandoned and isolated and uses it to generate a tale that feels claustrophobic. He delivers a story of a people who seem to be sliding into a collective madness, then blows it wide open and exposes the consequences of a lack of investment in these communities.
He also gives us characters that feel so real, that you can see elements of them in people you know and ‘influencers’ you see on Ytube, whose obsessions with ‘likes’ and subscription numbers seem unhealthy and obsessive. Then there are the deeply troubled adults who are stuck in worlds framed by delusional thoughts, that see them left open to manipulation, because their decent into delusional disorder, means they are vulnerable in a society that has cast them adrift. Put all this together and you have a novel that is as unique, clever and as relevant to our modern society as Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice was to the Regency era’s obsession with manners, marriage and money.
Beast truly is a novel for our modern era! It ‘s themes giving it a must read vibe, that will leave you questioning our obsession with the cult of personality, societies failure to protect the most vulnerable and the consequences of ignoring those communities who feel betrayed and abandoned. It thrilled me, scared me and the power and tension, hit me like a blow to the chest.
I look forward to the next one with delight and delicious trepidation.
About the author
Follow Matt on Twitter @ConcreteKraken and on his website: mjwesolowskiauthor.wordpress.com